Riders Of The Films

By J.J. O’Connor

Jon Hall, famous for his swashbuckling South Sea island roles, was a red hot motorcyclist until a few weeks ago and forever was seeking some of the gang to go cow-trailing on his gas pony. Patric Knowles, now is chauffeuring Hall’s Indian four around Hollywood and carving a reputation for himself as a skilled rider. Hall says that he will be back with the gang soon.

John Payne, now in the Air Corps, keeps his British Velocette at “Bozo’s” place and, whenever he gets to town on leave, that is his one and only form of transportation. Payne is another dyed-in- the-wool fan who declares his furloughs would be drab affairs without his beloved Velocette to get him around to see his numerous friends in Hollywood.

Gravel-voiced Andy Devine, the “mayor of Encino,” is another motorcycle fan, who used to ride a lot more with the gang before he got himself burdened with civic responsibilities. But, Mrs. Devine upholds the gas bike laurels of the Devine menage proudly with her Velocette, and the experts declare that she is real competition on these Sunday outings.

No roster of movie motorcyclists would be complete without the name of Roy Rogers, who bought his 1941 Chief in Maryland and rode it West when he came to Hollywood. Roy has the fever strong and is always ready to toss a leg over a saddle when he can find company for an evening or Sunday spin.

Then there is the very well known Ward Bond, the proud owner of two motors, his latest pride and joy being a brand new Harley. Ward keeps both machines busy, chasing back and forth from the studio and throttle-twisting with the gang on Sundays.

Among the producers, Victor Fleming is a rabid Ariel devotee, who loves to tackle steep hills and derives keen joy in the effortless way his vertical twin carries him over the top. Howard Hawks and Sig Wagner are other producers who own and ride motorcycles and find keen zest in going along on these informal Sunday sport outings with their fellow enthusiasts.

It may be news to many, but the motorcycle has won its way into the hearts of some of our best known orchestra leaders and singers. For example, there is Alvino Ray, who recently dashed over to Arizona to keep an engagement. It was a rugged ride for Ray most of the way, because of rain, but he declares he got a real kick out of it. Ray’s choice is a 1941 Indian Chief.

Frank Sinatra owns a 1941 Indian Chief and, until his recent illness, was a familiar figure on the Sunday outings of the movie set. He promises to be back again in the saddle when his current picture schedule is completed and he has time for recreation.

So much for the movies, and now we come to the fliers. Take Captain “Locky” Albright, of the Air Corps, stationed at Victorville. He is so wrapped up in his motor that he keeps it at camp so that he may ride it at every opportunity. “Locky” owns a magnificent Lincoln which stands in the garage while he does his motoring from camp to Hollywood on his iron pony . Albright’s enthusiasm for motorcycling at camp has caused several other officers to take up the sport after getting a taste of its thrills by accepting “Locky’s” urgent invitation to take a spin on his bike and see for themselves what they are missing. As a motorcycle booster, Capt. Albright is par excellence.

By J.J. O’Connor
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